Ian Hongell - Winemaker of the Year 2022 Shortlist
In the space of less than five years, Ian Hongell has transformed one of the leading estates of the Barossa and has elevated its vines and its wines to hitherto unseen heights. A grower and winemaker with tremendous depth of experience, he embodies a restless fanaticism to always strive harder, tweaking the finer details to bring out the best in his team, his vines and his wines. Ian is a deep thinker who has fundamentally challenged my own preconceptions about red winemaking in a warm climate. He contrasts his insightful and considered approach with a down-to-earth common sense that builds firm bonds with his winemaking and viticultural teams, his growers and vineyards. After almost two decades at Peter Lehmann Wines, ‘Honky’ clearly has inherited Peter Lehmann’s tremendous loyalty and devotion to the Barossa and its people
2016 The Laird
From the 2ha dry-grown Gnadenfrei vineyard in Marananga. Vines are low yielding and tended by hand. Matured 36 months in new French oak barriques. Barossa shiraz on another scale, every detail exploded into larger-than-life proportions. Impenetrable black. Deeper presence of black plum, licorice and prune, more exotic old-vine spice, more smoky dark chocolate, more mineral tannin, more spirity alcohol, more coal dust, engine oil and unbridled horsepower. To achieve all this with profound persistence and consummate integrity is where The Laird leaves all other overpowered pretenders in its dust. The most spectacular monument to the sheer might of Barossa shiraz.
92/8% shiraz/viognier. From a single vineyard in Marananga, planted 1994. Co-fermented, then matured 20 months in seasoned French oak barriques. Torbreck's baby RunRig shows the full presence of viognier in 2018, lending subtle tropical and apricot nuances and a fragrant lift to the power and depth of shiraz. The density and concentration of the warm, dry 2018 season are well captured in impressive, compact black fruits and licorice. Dark chocolate and coffee-bean oak holds a long finish on rails of firm, enduring tannins.